Elevator in the Chrysler Building. I pass by these every day. Pretty!

Funny story.

I work in mid-town Manhattan, on the east side. My building is attached to the Chrylser Building; there is a tunnel connecting the two.

I work on the 18th floor. A couple weeks ago, we expanded into some of the offices on the 17th floor. I only need to go down there a few times a week, and I always take the elevator. I’ve heard there are stairs, but haven’t paid a lot of attention.

So the other day, (Wednesday), I’m walking toward the elevator, and I see, tucked down a little hall-let, a door marked Staircase. So I go for it. (more…)

Here’s a quick bit of parallel in the show that I hadn’t thought of before. Don grabs Betty. Betty reacts with a little fire in her eyes, but basically with passivity. Later, Betty slaps Helen.

So can we conclude that Betty was “really” slapping Don when she slapped Helen? A bit of deflected anger?

And then later the conversation with Francine, in which Francine lets off a litany of absolutely deranged reasons to hate Helen Bishop. De. Ranged. Add these two incidents together and it seems like this is who Helen is; a place for the married women to project all their fears, anxieties, and rage.

I re-watched Red in the Face last night, and I kept getting a feeling like the beat is off. Episode director Tim Hunter has done some of MM’s best episodes, and some other great television as well. I can’t put my finger on it.

Take the slap: Betty and Helen talk. Betty does not appear to understand what Helen is upset about. Then Betty slaps Helen. Just like that. There’s no pause, there’s no sudden recognition or understanding or indeed anger on Betty’s face. There’s no moment of warm-up. Just talk slap. Like that.

Or Pete sitting in the dark with the gun while Trudy yells off-camera. It’s a great scene, a great shot. But it feels like it’s in a different show. There’s no other scene in any Mad Men episode remotely like that. It’s like it’s playing to a different music.

Or the hunting fantasy scene, which is brilliant, but let’s face it, the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen on television (and I’m counting the dancing dwarf on Twin Peaks).

The overall impression, for me, is an episode that only feels like Mad Men about half the time.

“I like redheads. Their mouths are like a drop of strawberry jam in a glass of milk.”

Forgive me, MM writers. I love you all.

But this episode, about which I have so much more to say, seems to have a big fat continuity issue.

Thursday #1
It is the end of the workday. Roger speaks to his wife about the weekend plans. He is then told by Bertram Cooper that the Nixon boys are coming in at the end of the week. Joan has a bag packed and is taking a train with her roommate Carol for a weekend away. No mention that she is taking a Friday off, but okay so far.

How do I know it’s Thursday? Don says to Peggy, trying to make sure she’s not working too late, “Just because tomorrow’s Friday, doesn’t mean I expect to be pulling your head off the keys in the morning”. (God, that line is a mouthful!)

That night, it’s drinks for Don and Roger, and then the disastrous dinner at the Draper’s.

Thursday #2
The next morning, Roger offers Don a bottle and an apology. At lunch Pete exchanges a chip-and-dip for a 22-caliber rifle. (more…)

The fact I never saw this appearance. The fact he is so dreamy. The fact they talk about a marathon that, at the time, I totally missed the memo on. The fact he is so dreamy (again). The fact they showed that, of all clips. The fact he talked about the trip he took with me.